River Basin & Watershed Riparian Buffer Rules
In North Carolina, forestry activities are regulated within selected riverbasins or watershed areas through a series of "Riparian Buffer Rules" that go above and beyond the requirements defined by the Forest Practices Guidelines Related to Water Quality (commonly called "FPGs").
These areas include:
- Catawba River and its mainstem lakes
- Goose Creek watershed (Union and Mecklenburg counties, NC)
- Jordan Lake watershed
- Neuse River basin
- Randleman Lake watershed
- Tar-Pamlico River basin
These Riparian Buffer Rules set additional limits on activities within the buffer zone, including but not limited to:
- How wide the buffer zone must be
- What type of forestry activities are allowed to occur in the buffer
- The size and quantity of trees allowable for harvesting in the buffer
- The type of logging equipment allowed for harvesting trees
The NCFS has produced "Forestry Leaflet" publications for each Riparian Buffer Rule that outline the requirements that forestry operations must meet in order to comply with each rule.
- WQ-10: A Guide to Implementing the Catawba Riparian Buffer Rule for Forest Harvesting Activities in North Carolina
- WQ-11: A Guide to Implementing Neuse River Basin and Tar-Pamlico River Basin Riparian Buffer Rules for Forest Management Activities
- WQ-12: A Guide to Implementing the Randleman Lake Watershed Riparian Buffer Rule for Forest Management Activities (revised July 2010)
- WQ-13: A Guide to Implementing the Goose Creek Watershed Riparian Buffer Rule for Forest Management Activities
- WQ-14: A Guide to Implementing the Jordan Lake Water Supply Watershed Riparian Buffer Rules for Forest Management Activities
While the NCFS monitors compliance of these buffer rules on forestry sites, the NC Division of Water Resources (NCDWR) handles all enforcement situations and retains the authority to inspect and take necessary actions regarding compliance with these rules, with or without prior knowledge by the NCFS.
If you need assistance to determine whether or not a stream, ditch, water channel or other body of water requires these rules, please contact a forester at the nearest NCFS district office.